University Literacy and Contact with Sources of Information, Keys for Learning at The University

Fabiana Böhm-Carrer, Adrian Edgardo Lucero


 Considering that education is subject to permanent dynamic renewal, this study aims to describe and analyze what difficulties are facing students enrolled in two different universities: one is public (Faculty of Elementary and Special Education, National University of Cuyo); the other one is private (Faculty of Psychology, Aconcagua University). Students face difficulties when they get in contact with searching information tasks, as well as with the topics of the so called academic literacy. Theoretical coincidences suggest the existence of an eloquent difficulty of adaptation to university life, which is compounded when taking into account difficulties in working with information search tools as for reading and writing are the basic and constitutive academic elements of literacy. In the face of this problem, it is essential to consider the benefits that the incorporation of a new academic culture could provide to students. So, the general objective of this study becomes to find the link that can be established between the strategies of information search, reading, and writing, and the capitalization of knowledge at the beginning of the university studies for freshmen students in the Faculty of Elementary and Special Education, University of Cuyo (FEEyE), and the Faculty of Psychology, Children, Youth and Family, and Criminalistics, University of Aconcagua; both are located in Mendoza, Argentine. A structured, quantitative design methodology was implemented to achieve this objective; in this methodology, the survey technique was applied, and a questionnaire was used as a data collection instrument, prepared ad hoc for these studies. The 146 participants selected responded to a non-probabilistic sampling strategy, which considered the two universities under study and the four careers chosen. To apply the strategy the students should be enrolled in the second year of their careers, so that this condition could account for the aspects under research. The data obtained were processed from a descriptive, univariate and bivariate statistics, which would provide a descriptive image of the subjects studied, as well as the main variables and indicators mentioned in the research objectives. Thus, by way of conclusion, regarding the contact with sources of information, it is notable that about 13% of the students of both universities do not use ICTs in their university performance, despite public policies in state institutions executed years ago. One in five students does not know how to look for academic information on Internet; they confuse and do not know the available tools. Concerning the axes of academic literacy, reading and writing, the lack of specific disciplinary language appears as one of the main difficulties both to produce and to understand a text, accompanied by the absence of exercise in the production of academic texts of their own. Despite the initial assumption, no significant differences were found to be attributable to the public and private qualities of the universities where the groups under study were enrolled.


Academic literacy; reading, writing; information sources; strategies.


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